‘history’ Category

  1. Chekhov’s early maturity

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    February 15, 2018 by AK

    Almost three weeks ago now, the Argumentative Old Git (Himadri Chatterjee) wrote of his plan to re-read Ibsen’s mature works, which include Brand, Peer Gynt and the twelve plays from The Pillars of Society (1877) to When We Dead Awaken (1899). On the strength of these dozen plays, Ibsen is often grouped with Chekhov and …
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  2. Bolívar in winter

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    February 3, 2018 by AK

    The in fall of 2016, I wrote about the foundation stone for an equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar in the South-West of Moscow, unveiled by Hugo Chávez himself in October 2010. It was supposed to be a copy of Adamo Tadolini‘s monument to the Liberator as seen in Carácas and elsewhere. The first bronze cast of …
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  3. The Thunderstorm

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    December 29, 2017 by AK

    I’ve seen a dozen and a half theater performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg this year. Some turned out first-rate, as I expected from their creators – Yuri Butusov, Mikhail Bychkov, Dmitry Krymov, Evgeny Marcelli, Andrey Moguchy, Rimas Tuminas. Andriy Zholdak’s production of The Three Sisters was a disappointment: so much talent and imagination gone …
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  4. Mmes. de L. and R.

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    December 17, 2017 by AK

    On a slightly lighter note, Dmitry Bykov, “one of Russia’s most colorful, versatile, and recognizable public intellectuals” and currently a visiting professor at UCLA, occasionally suffers from a condition typical of preternaturally productive speakers and writers: getting facts wrong in an entertaining way. Last month, Bykov gave a short talk on Maximilian Voloshin on the …
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  5. Another trial in Moscow

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    December 17, 2017 by AK

    Shaun Walker reports from Moscow for The Guardian: A Moscow court has sentenced a former Russian economy minister to eight years in a high-security prison for corruption, in a verdict that is likely to send chills through the Russian elite… The trial was a rare case of the vicious infighting between government clans spilling out …
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  6. Through a fen to the pit

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    December 3, 2017 by AK

    I’ve never listened to AC/DC, but let’s say I grew up with it. At school and at college, every other desk bore a semblance of their logo – carved, scratched, inked, penciled. (I’m talking about late-Soviet Moscow, to be clear.) Everybody pronounced the name IS-sy DIS-sy or EES-sy DEES-sy – I still don’t know why. …
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  7. Tchaikovsky’s civil service career: an early advantage

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    November 26, 2017 by AK

    I’ve spotted this little detail in Wikipedia’s article on Tchaikovsky; On 10 June 1859, the 19-year-old Tchaikovsky graduated as a titular counselor, a low rung on the civil service ladder. Appointed to the Ministry of Justice, he became a junior assistant within six months and a senior assistant two months after that. The rank of …
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  8. It didn’t start in 1917

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    November 23, 2017 by AK

    The organizers of Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932 – the London show mentioned in this post – seem to believe that Russian arts burst into dazzling blossom in 1917 as the revolutionary spring ushered in a kingdom of liberty: …we will mark the historic centenary by focusing on the 15-year period between 1917 and 1932 when possibilities initially seemed limitless and …
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  9. “Someone 1917”: Boris Grigoriev’s portrait of Nicholas Roerich

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    November 21, 2017 by AK

    I can’t recall whose portrait, and by whom, this visitor is photographing. However, the painting to the right of it is the 1917 portrait of the Russian Futurist poet Vasily Kamensky by another famous Futurist, David Burliuk. (Here’s another image of Kamensky by Burliuk, from 1916.) The painting on the left must be this portrait, also …
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  10. This is not the Red Army

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    November 21, 2017 by AK

    In the London Review of Books, T.J. Clarke reviews Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32, an art show put on by the Royal Academy in London. His review is illustrated, among other images, with this photograph, captioned “The Red Army with the black square.” It gets at least one of the colors wrong. This cannot be the Red Army: the servicemen …
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